From Billa to Enthiren, why Rajni rocks for me.

The first Tamil film I remember watching is Billa. I must have been around 7, and it was on Doordarshan Sunday evening slot.

At that time, only my mama – who lived on the ground floor of our house – had a television, a black&white one. A whole bunch of us gathered there for the show.

That’s when I got hooked to Rajnikant. AND this song was one of my first favourites, and comes into my head at the strangest of moments, even now. The rather ‘stylish’ Rajni shaking his bell-bottomed leg, surrounded by a bunch of women who shouldn’t even be caught dead in costumes like that.

Over the years I have gone back and watched Rajni’s critically acclaimed films where he played the villain everyone loved to hate. I bristle when people call him a bad actor, because I’ve seen films where you get goose pimples just watching him ooze evil.

Yes, then the superstar was born, and he became larger than life. He took on a different avatar… but he is effective.

No one will accuse Rajni of being a good dancer or burden him with impeccable dialogue delivery. He will say way-sht for waste, shootheart for sweetheart, and don’t get me started on his Tamil.

But that’s Rajni – the star who is huge on screen and contrasts it with an off-screen unmatched humility.

Nearly 30 years later, watching Enthiren, I got the same kick as I did with Billa. Especially when Chitti turns evil, and particularly the ‘black sheep’ scene.

Oh so RAJNI!!!!!!

Why this woman? WHY?

Sitting next to me, watching the movie were a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy – the latter understands no Tamil, but that didn’t stop him from totally soaking in Rajni. That’s how fans are born.

All around me were 30-, 40- and 50-year-olds who saw in Rajni what they saw in their preteens and teens.

Give me this 61-year-old any day over the Ajiths and Vijays.

I am always asked why a fairly intelligent person (me, me), who has even done a course in film appreciation, be so much ‘in like’ with Rajni.

The short answer: I grew up with him. He, for me, epitomises entertainment.

PS: The first Hindi film I watched in the theatre was Hero and English was Gandhi. You?

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12 thoughts on “From Billa to Enthiren, why Rajni rocks for me.

  1. shyam says:

    Actually I preferred (and prefer) Rajni as comedian. Dont think I’ve seen any of his movies where he plays the villain. Rajni as serious actor… I dont think so.

  2. Kiwi says:

    Have to say I agree with both V and Shyam. Rajini rocks as both a villain and a comedian. Shankar is clever that way. He used Rajini as comedian also in the first half of Shivaji and Rajini as villain in second half of Endhiran.

    • UmmON says:

      @shyam: being a villian or a comedian is being a serious actor isn’t it? it’s not an easy role to essay. and yes, of course love him as a comedian too.

  3. Kamini says:

    Aaah, Rajni! He makes me weak-kneed and starry-eyed! My own husband (who, as an air force brat grew up mostly in the north of India) is utterly baffled by my adoration of him. My answer is identical to yours. The poor man shakes his head, seized with doubt about my taste in men (where does he stand, if I like someone like that ghastly Rajni?!)…Over the years he has managed to disguise the gnashed teeth as an indulgent smile.

  4. Inbavalli says:

    I’m not a very Rajini person but Endhiran was s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g. Whattay film! As to why Ash I guess Shankar would’ve wanted to sell more tickets – she does have a more pan-Indian appeal than any other actress. You and I might find her face plastic and annoying but who cares? I don’t know which other top-league heroine puts up her cleavage and made-up armpits on display THROUGHOUT the film.

    • UmmON says:

      comment mela ma… you are so right about that arm-pits and cleavage bit. went through some of her songs and what a stereotype of hers that is.

  5. Deeps says:

    Billa is the remake of ‘Don’, right??

    My first movie in a theater was Love Story, a hindi movie. I was about 3 or 4 then. I remember there was this particular song, ‘yaad aa rahi hai’ in the film which I had liked so much that I used to refer to the hero as ‘Yaad-aa-rahi-hai-ettan’ 😀

      • Deeps says:

        Noooo..it was Kumar Gaurav’s( yesteryear tragedy hero Rajendra Kumar’s son)debut film. Cant embed the song I’m talking about..so linking it. Dont cry or doze off while listening or worse still, kill me for sharing it here 😀 😀

        Here it is

  6. Shallinee Raman says:

    “Give me this 61-year-old any day over the Ajiths and Vijays. I grew up with him. He, for me, epitomises entertainment….”

    (with a sheepish smile) Me, too. He is awesome, and will always be.

    PS: The first Hindi film I watched in the theatre was Hero and English was Gandhi. You?

    My Tamil one was Mannan. English – would have been Pretty
    Women. Cheers, dear !!

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